Front Matter The Beginning of the U.S Franklin's Return Troubles After the War The Constitution The First President Washington's Troubles A Wonderful Invention Death of Washington The U.S. Buys Land War With African Pirates Death of Somers The First Steamboat The Gerrymander The War of 1812 "Don't Give Up the Ship" The Star-Spangled Banner Clinton's "Big Ditch" More Land Bought Jackson Stories Jackson's Presidency New Inventions Whitman's Ride The Mormons The First Telegraph The Mexican War The Slavery Quarrel Daniel Webster's Youth Webster's Speeches Early Times in California Discovery of El Dorado Rush to California The Underground Railroad The First World's Fair John Brown's Raid Lincoln's Youth The First Shot The Call to Arms The President's Decision Admiral Farragut The Monitor and Merrimac The Penninsular Campaign Barbara Frietchie Lincoln's Vow The Battle of Gettysburg The Taking of Vicksburg Riots, Raids, and Battles The Burning of Atlanta The March to the Sea Sheridan's Ride The Doings of the Fleet Lee's Surrender Decoration Day Lincoln Stories Lincoln's Rebukes A President's Son A Noble Southerner Hard Times in the South The Atlantic Cable Best Way to Settle Quarrels Our One Hundredth Birthday Gold for Greenbacks A Clever Engineer Death of Garfield The Celebration at Yorktown The Great Statue A Terrible Flood Lynch Law The Great White City The Explosion of the Maine The Battle of Manila Hobson's Brave Deed Surrender of Santiago The Hawaiian Islands The Annexation of Hawaii The Philippine War Assassination of McKinley The Panama Canal Roosevelt's Administration Two Presidents German Views The World War Since the World War

Story of the Great Republic - Helene Guerber

The Best Way to Settle Quarrels

The Union Pacific Railroad brought about many other improvements. Emigrants were no longer afraid to travel farther westward, where the government promised to give them farms, or "homesteads." They quickly settled all along the new railroad. Before long several prosperous towns arose in the far West, also, and train after train bore produce from Western farms to the Eastern market. Many of the broad prairies, where huge herds of bison once fed, are now plowed by steam, and immense fields of wheat can be seen stretching on every side as far as the eye can reach.

Herd of Bison


Thus, you see, our country was growing—growing fast. In spite of the war, where so many were killed, the census of 1870 showed that there were about thirty-nine million inhabitants in our country, and that wealth had increased as fast as the people. Railways and steamboats greatly helped commerce, and since the weather signal service was established, in the year 1870, fewer vessels have been lost at sea.

Still, while the East and West were prospering, the South had a very hard time to get on, for in some states the colored voters outnumbered the white. Schools had been started, but it would be some time before children attending them would be old enough to vote, and in the meantime ignorant negro voters and carpetbaggers were in control.

Bad and dishonest men so often got into office in this way that secret societies were formed in the South, to prevent the negroes from voting in regions where they outnumbered the whites. These societies formed what was called the "Ku-Klux Klan," and the members wore queer masks and frightful disguises.

Although at first intended merely to frighten and awe, but not to harm, the negroes, some members of the Ku-Klux Klan became very cruel before long. Negroes were whipped, maimed, and even murdered, carpetbaggers and scalawags were treated in the same way, and for a time there was a reign of terror in the South. But these methods were never approved of by the most sensible people. They knew that the only right way is to have good laws and an orderly government, and they worked very hard to secure both.

Two questions arose with Great Britain while Grant was President, which might have made trouble. But, instead of fighting, some of the best statesmen of both countries made a treaty at Washington (1871), saying that the difficulties should be decided by arbitration.

A board of distinguished men, therefore, met at Geneva, in Switzerland, to settle what are known as the "Alabama claims." You remember that during the Civil War a vessel of that name and other ships were built in England,—a neutral country,—and handed over to the Confederates, who used them to destroy many Union vessels.

After weighing both sides of the question, this board decided that a neutral country should not furnish vessels and arms to nations at war. As Great Britain had clearly been in the wrong in this case, she was condemned to pay the United States fifteen and a half million dollars as damages for property destroyed.

The second question—the water boundary between the United States and British Columbia in Puget Sound—was left entirely to the Emperor of Germany, who drew the line on the map where it now stands.

While Grant was President there was much talk about the Indians. The greater part of them had, little by little, been removed to the Indian Territory, where the Choctaws, Creeks, Cherokees, and Seminoles had houses and schools, and were fast learning to be very good farmers.

But, besides the orderly and industrious Indians, there were others who were as wild as their ancestors. The food furnished to these tribes by the government agents was not fit to eat, for most of the money devoted to this purpose was stolen by dishonest men. But the President had no idea of this until a Yale professor went to a Sioux Reservation to get specimens for the college museum. The Indians there called him "The-Man-who-came-to-pick-up-Bones," and their chief, Red Cloud, gave him samples of the food dealt out to the savages, making him promise to show them to the "Great Father" (the President).

Little Bighorn


The professor kept that promise; and when Grant saw the samples, and heard from some of the officers that the Indians had a right to complain in many cases, he decided that a change must be made. Since then matters have gone on a little better. Various improvements have been made, and in the government schools you can now see many Indian boys and girls learning to be teachers, so they can help their people to become good American citizens.

Among the worst of the savage Indians, there were the wild Apaches in Arizona, and the Modocs in Oregon, who, unable to agree with the settlers, and refusing to stay in their reservations, were finally forced to obey by the United States troops. This, however, was not accomplished until many Indians and a number of white men had been slain.

The worst Indian war at this time was with the Sioux in the Black Hills in Dakota. Gold having been found there, miners invaded the Indians' reservation. As the miners and Indians both drank, quarrels and fights soon arose, and, hoping to save bloodshed, the government tried to make a treaty with the Sioux to sell their land and go elsewhere.

The principal chiefs were Sitting Bull and Rain-in-the-Face, who refused to stir. They were then told that they must obey or the troops would force them to do so. But the Indians retreated into the Big Horn valley, where they got ready to fight. General George A. Custer, who had fought bravely all through the Civil War, set out in June, 1876, to attack them. But he divided his force, so as to strike them from two sides at once, and when he and his two hundred and sixty-two men came suddenly upon the Indians' camp he found that the Sioux had been joined by many others of their tribe, and now, instead of a few hundred, were five thousand strong!

In a moment Custer's cavalrymen saw they could not escape. Nevertheless, they dismounted calmly, resolved to die bravely at their post. The Indians came on, twenty to one, and stampeded the cavalry horses by fiendish yells and wildly waving blankets. Left thus, with nothing but the ammunition in their cartridge belts, Custer and his brave troopers fought until their last shots had been fired, and when the battle was over, every one of them lay there dead, but surrounded by many slain Indians.

Although badly wounded, Rain-in-the-Face boasted that he had kept a vow he had made, and had cut out and eaten Captain Tom Custer's heart! The heroes who died in the Custer massacre were buried on the spot where they fell around their gallant general, and a massive monument was erected in their honor. Besides, a statue of Custer is to be seen at West Point, where he learned to be such a good soldier.